Thursday 10 March 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 Back to Worcestershire


          Up early and boy. it is cold. I need to cycle fifty miles today in order to get back to The Midlands, land of my birth.

          Thick frost covers trees, hedgerows and fields, I am nervous as I plummet down a steep hill from Cinderford, heading towards Gloucester, any ice and I'll be flying!

Gloucester Cathedral

          Once the drop is negotiated, the main roads are fine and with a breeze from behind, my progress makes me feel chipper.

          The route on this beautiful sunny day follows the main road, the A38 and fields adjacent to the road are frequently flooded. The nearby River Severn must have burst its banks.

          Reaching Tewkesbury, it amazes me how the fields in front of Tewkesbury Abbey. When I passed here at the beginning of the month, the whole area was water-free and green. Now Tewkesbury must have been close to having been an osland recently. That last happened in 2007 and I remember driving around Warwickshire and Worcestershire photographing other flooded areas along the Warwickshire Avon river.

          Into Worcester once more, I stop quickly to photograph one of the three Acorns Children's Hospices . . . 

On reaching Worcester centre, I walk along the pedestrianised high street and come across an Extinction Rebellion protest against Barclays. Barclays are funding fossil fuel and need admonishing.

          My way of hitting the fossil fuel industry is to not use any! LOL.

          Through Droitwich, I am saddened by the sight of the Raven Hotel. My late wife, Karen, who the Justgiving page for Acorns Children's Hospice is dedicated to, and I spent the first night of our honeymoon there. Having a meal in its restaurant on that evening back in 1997, a famous Birmingham City footballer, Frank Worthington was sitting at an adjacent table. My brother-in-law, Tony, was a fanatic of my enemy team, well, I am a Villa fan and I go over to ask for an autograph for him. Frank laughed at my request and explanation and kindly bought Karen and I a bottle of champagne to celebrate our honeymoon with.

          A passing couple tell me that the hotel has been empty for around twenty years and cannot be knocked down as it is a protected building.

          Seeing a Tiffany lamp in a shop as I head back to the main road, is poignant. Karen used to love it when I would buy her one as a present. I remember a beautiful arge one I bought for her with dragonflies all around the shade, similar to the one in the window.

          Cycling along the road, I find a small toy,a dirty Mr Tickle. I can't leave him there and so I stop to pick him up with the intention of cleaning him and adding him to the crew.

          I reach Upton Warren and almost immediately see a Lesser Redpoll* on the path to the East Hide.

          Into the hide, the rest of my day is spent enjoying the company of birders and watching as the sunsets. 


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